Kenya to reopen Mogadishu embassy 'as soon as possible'
Police officers of the African Union's peacekeeping mission in Somalia (AMISOM) from Uganda, Kenya, Sierra Leone, Nigeria, Ghana and Zambia gather before their night patrol deployment at the base in Mogadishu on September 17, 2019. (Tina SMOLE / AFP)
(AFP) - Kenya said Monday it will honour Somalia's invitation to restore diplomatic ties and reopen its embassy in Mogadishu, marking a thaw in the often-tense relations between the Horn of Africa neighbours.
Ties between the countries were severed on December 15 after Kenya hosted the leadership of Somaliland, a breakaway state not recognised by the central government in Mogadishu.
Somalia's foreign minister, Abdirizak Mohamed, on June 12 wrote to his Kenyan counterpart offering to resume full diplomatic ties "in the spirit of good neighbourliness".
Kenya's foreign ministry responded in a statement Monday, saying, "it welcomes and acknowledges the invitation by the federal government of Somalia to restore diplomatic relations" and that it would reopen its embassy in Mogadishu "as soon as possible".
It added that Somalia's ambassador to Kenya was also invited to resume duties in Nairobi.
Somalia last month signalled its intention to resume ties with Kenya, but detente stalled after Kenya a few days later banned flights between the capitals without explanation.
The flights have since resumed.
Somalia has long bristled at what it calls Kenya's meddling in regions over its border, while Nairobi has accused Mogadishu of using it as a scapegoat for its own political problems.
The neighbours are also engaged in a long-running territorial dispute over a potentially resource-rich stretch of the Indian Ocean claimed by both nations.
The dispute reached its nadir in early 2019 when Kenya recalled its ambassador after Somalia decided to unilaterally auction oil and gas blocks.
© Agence France-Presse